During the development of new materials for electrical engineering and electronic applications, research activities in the PolyComp network also focus on the important topic of environmental impact. In cooperation with the Siemens AG Öster-reichTransformers Weiz, a casein-adhesive for the bonding of transformer boards was developed, which is based on milk proteins. The dielectric properties of this adhesive from renewable resources exceed those of their epoxy-based congeners.
The K-Project "PolyComp - Functional Polymer Composites" focuses on innovative material concepts and process technologies with high marketability potential. The development of new materials for electronics and electrical is focused on, while sustainable resource management, efficiency and environmental sustainability are the driving forces. Unique in Austria, joint and interdisciplinary research in the PolyComp network is performed together with national and international partner companies and universities. In the course of materials development, the ever-important topics of environmental sustainability and operational reliability are taken into account. For example, petroleum-based insulation media currently used will be replaced by environmentally safe oils of natural origin (e.g. rapeseed oil) in order to provide increased fire safety of transformers and to prevent environmental damage in case of leakage. In the context of these activities, also the replacement of epoxy-based adhesives, which often contain bisphenol A diglycidyl ether, has been investigated. The focus of current research addresses their replacement by adhesives based on renewable raw materials like casein.
Casein, a mixture of several proteins, is a fraction of milk that is not processed into cheese. It represents 80%, hence the largest part of the protein content of milk. Casein was already used by Egyptian carpenters for gluing furniture, and, until 1930, was a starting material for Galalith, which was used (among other applications) for the insulation of electrical systems. In cooperation with the Siemens AG ÖsterreichTransformers Weiz, recent research activities in the PolyComp project have validated the modification of casein for usage as an adhesive for the bonding of transformer boards. The properties of this novel adhevise qualify it for usage in high-voltage applications. The use of toxic formaldehyde, which is used in the manufacturing of Galalith, could be eliminated.
Impact and effects:
The recently developed, casein-derived adhesive provides the ability to bond components for high-voltage applications based on renewable raw materials. In addition, due to its non-toxic formulation, it also helps to improve the manufacturing safety and to increase the employer’s health standards.
PolyComp – Functional Polymer Composites
Univ.-Doz. Dr. Frank Wiesbrock, Key Researcher
Polymer Competence Center Leoben GmbH, Roseggerstrasse 12, 8700 Leoben